Providing excellent healthcare while keeping a busy healthcare environment running smoothly can be challenging. It takes a great team of dedicated people to make it happen.
In the medical world, support staff play a crucial role in helping health professionals give patients a positive experience.
Technology has enabled hospitals and specialty clinics to adopt remote work, allowing them to hire healthcare virtual assistants to do administrative tasks that take too much of doctors’ time.
Hiring qualified and responsible people for your medical support staff is not easy. So, here are a few things you should know about the role.
By the end of this blog post, we will help you decide whether you need a healthcare virtual assistant, the benefits of hiring one, and how you can save much by doing so.
Healthcare virtual assistants (HVA) are remote front desk workers. They work with medical facilities, hospitals, specialty clinics, and private practices.
Unlike in-house medical support assistants, they work virtually/remotely. Most of their tasks are administrative, helping reduce the workload of doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Healthcare virtual assistants perform various medical office tasks such as scheduling appointments, inventory management, typing documents, and paperwork, and so much more.
With the proper training, they can also educate patients and update their medical records.
Average Salary of Medical Support Assistants vs. HVA
Hiring a new member of your medical support staff is costly in terms of the salary range.
The average base salary for a medical support assistant in the United States is $17.88 per hour or $37,190 per year.
In Australia, medical support assistants earn an average of $28.97 per hour or $56,482 per year. In the UK, the average base salary for healthcare assistants ranges up to £12 per hour or £23,400.
If you find these numbers expensive wherever you are in the world, there is a more cost-effective solution for you.
A Healthcare Virtual Assistant (HVA) from Synergist Corporate Solutions comes at a flat rate of $8 per hour. Huge difference, right?
With an HVA, you don’t have to worry about paying for sick time, overtime, or benefits. Moreover, the extra tasks cost much less than hiring a full-time employee and can easily be completed according to your convenience.
What Do Healthcare Virtual Assistants Do?
Healthcare virtual assistants (HVA) perform various administrative office tasks for your medical office. Here are some of them to be specific.
1. Answering phone calls
Patients would often contact clinics via phone calls. As a remote front desk worker, a healthcare virtual assistant is the first line of communication between the patient and the medical office.
Healthcare virtual assistants accommodate patient inquiries and handle all types of communication.
An HVA can also determine whether a phone call made is urgent or not. When an urgent call is made and needs to be addressed to another party (i.e., the doctor), the HVA can forward the call to the responsible person.
2. Scheduling appointments
Scheduling patient appointments is a common duty for healthcare virtual assistants. When a patient calls your medical office and plans to visit you, your HVA can set an appointment schedule based on your availability.
Skilled healthcare virtual assistants can manage your busy calendar and will remind you about your schedule for the day or the week. This way, you are always on track with your schedule without managing it yourself.
Moreover, healthcare virtual assistants add appointments via phone or an online booking system such as Calendly or Google Calendar. An HVA can also contact patients the day before their appointment to confirm their schedule via phone call or SMS.
If a patient plans to cancel or reschedule their appointment, your HVA can simply remove them from your calendar or move their appointment to another time.
Healthcare virtual assistants take care of your scheduling tasks so you can truly focus more on your patients.
3. Verify medical insurance
Insurance verification is essential for medical practices.
Insurance verification is the process of confirming the patient’s insurance coverage, making sure your practice falls within the insurance plan’s network.
This step must be taken before any services are administered so everyone is on the same page, no surprises occur, and miscommunication is avoided. By doing so, you save a lot of time & money.
Healthcare virtual assistants can call insurance companies to make sure policies are up to date. They can also assist patients in filling out complex insurance forms. This allows for better ease of access when it comes to medical assistance and paperwork.
With the right training, skilled healthcare virtual assistants can verify patients’ medical insurance and ensure that their insurance plans cover your practice and services.
4. Manage medical billing and patient balances
Staying on top of accounts is essential for medical clinics to be able to operate successfully. It enables business owners to establish budgets, order necessary materials, and pay their staff on time.
As such, healthcare virtual assistants with excellent bookkeeping skills are responsible for processing payments from patients and issuing receipts. They also manage medical bills and patient balances.
An HVA can also send an invoice or a payment reminder to a patient whose payment is overdue to make sure that no balances are left unchecked.
5. Creating rosters
Healthcare virtual assistants are given to have excellent organizational skills, that’s why they can help in creating rosters. This includes managing shifts, handling requests for time off, and flexible work arrangements.
An HVA can help plan shifts along with the medical office team. Your HVA is also responsible for finding someone to fill in a team member’s shift when another person calls in sick.
Moreover, healthcare virtual assistants keep a record of doctors’ schedules. They can inform patients of the availability of the physician and provide them with dates when they can or can’t make appointments.
What Skills Should Healthcare Virtual Assistants Have?
Do you plan to add new members to your medical support staff? There are a few things you should look for.
Aside from strong administrative and interpersonal skills, here are other skills you should look for when hiring healthcare virtual assistants.
1. Customer service skills
Healthcare virtual assistants work closely with patients. As they are the first point of contact for patients, your HVA must provide excellent patient care. Their goal is to give all patients and visitors a positive experience firsthand.
Therefore, healthcare virtual assistants must have excellent customer service skills. They must have a people-first attitude when working with patients. They must also answer questions and handle inquiries with professionalism and patience.
Answering phone calls is part of an HVA’s duty, and callers expect to communicate with someone friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. For this reason, it is crucial for healthcare virtual assistants to have customer service skills.
2. Communication skills
Healthcare virtual assistants and other medical staff must have excellent communication skills. From greeting patients and providing reliable information to collaborating with other healthcare professionals, an HVA must be able to communicate effectively with preciseness and conciseness.
There are a few key components when it comes to communication. These include verbal communication, confidence, empathy, active listening, body language, and written communication. An HVA must effectively apply these components so they can communicate with patients and healthcare professionals properly.
3. Time-management skills
Administrative tasks are tedious and time-consuming. Healthcare virtual assistants need to have excellent time-management skills to successfully perform clerical tasks for your medical office.
Creating rosters and managing schedules are part of an HVA’s job. They need to have good organizational skills to efficiently complete these tasks on time.
4. Bookkeeping skills
As mentioned, healthcare virtual assistants manage medical billing and balances and verify insurance plans. For an HVA to do these tasks successfully, they must have basic bookkeeping skills.
Healthcare virtual assistants must be knowledgeable in accounting programs like MYOB, Xero, and Quickbooks. Also, they must know how to navigate Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.
When an HVA have these basic bookkeeping skills, they can perform other types of data entry like updating patient details, inventory management, and lead generation.
5. Typing skills
This is a basic but crucial skill every healthcare virtual assistant must have. Clerical tasks often require a computer or a laptop. A tech-savvy HVA is more productive and can finish tasks more efficiently.
Healthcare virtual assistants must have excellent typing skills for various tasks like communicating with patients and other healthcare professionals via email or SMS.
If you assign a transcription role to your HVA, they must be able to understand medical terminology and jargon. This will help reduce errors while typing.
Do you Need a Healthcare Virtual Assistant?
If your goal is to provide excellent healthcare without getting swamped with administrative tasks inside your medical office, YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO HIRE A HEALTHCARE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.
It is more cost-effective compared to hiring an in-house medical support assistant. It also saves you a lot of time and resources. Hiring an HVA benefits you and your in-house medical team. You can delegate extra tasks to HVAs so you can truly focus more on your patients.
Our healthcare virtual assistants from Synergist Corporate Solutions are professionally trained in customer service, bookkeeping, and communication so they can effectively and efficiently perform their tasks.
Our HVAs can also manage their time well thanks to our team leaders and supervisors who create a productive work environment for them.
If you need assistance with a lot of administrative tasks inside your medical office, get in touch with us and we’ll help you find the best healthcare virtual assistants for you.